A special electors’ meeting has been called to oppose mining in the Porongurup district after a petition with 306 signatures was submitted to the Shire of Plantagenet on January 9. Friends of the Porongurup Range are seeking to have the shire adopt a policy position and formal statement for an exploration and mining exclusion zone in the Porongurup area. The group seeks to protect the more than one billion-year-old granite range that is one of eight national parks in the Great Southern and features an isolated island of karri tree forest. According to the Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, in 2023 seven mining exploration licences were granted while there were 13 in 2022 and seven approved in 2021 within the greater Plantagenet Shire area. The petition also seeks a formal statement of support of nature-based tourism from the shire. Ratepayers and property owners are presently only able to object to mining exploration in the permit application stage. Friends of the Porongurup Range Secretary Maggie Shanklin said the area’s environment needs to be protected for residents and eco-tourism prospects. “We had a lot of interest over the last six months, it took a while to get everything organised because there was a local election,” she said. “The area we’re talking about is between Porongurup and Mt Barker, and it includes several wineries, farms and small businesses.” The special electors’ meeting is to be held at 6.30pm on February 7 at the Plantagenet District Hall in Mt Barker.